Isaiah 42

1 “Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delights— I have put my Spirit on him. He will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not shout, nor raise his voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street. 3 He won’t break a bruised reed. He won’t quench a dimly burning wick. He will faithfully bring justice. 4 He will not fail nor be discouraged, until he has set justice in the earth, and the islands will wait for his law.” 5 Thus says God the LORD, he who created the heavens and stretched them out, he who spread out the earth and that which comes out of it, he who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk in it. 6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and make you a covenant for the people, as a light for the nations; 7 to open the blind eyes, to bring the prisoners out of the dungeon, and those who sit in darkness out of the prison. 8 “I am the LORD. That is my name. I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to engraved images. 9 Behold, the former things have happened, and I declare new things. I tell you about them before they come up.” 10 Sing to the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is therein, the islands and their inhabitants. 11 Let the wilderness and its cities raise their voices, with the villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing. Let them shout from the top of the mountains! 12 Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands. 13 The LORD will go out like a mighty man. He will stir up zeal like a man of war. He will raise a war cry. Yes, he will shout aloud. He will triumph over his enemies. 14 “I have been silent a long time. I have been quiet and restrained myself. Now I will cry out like a travailing woman. I will both gasp and pant. 15 I will destroy mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs. I will make the rivers islands, and will dry up the pools. 16 I will bring the blind by a way that they don’t know. I will lead them in paths that they don’t know. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. I will do these things, and I will not forsake them. 17 “Those who trust in engraved images, who tell molten images, ‘You are our gods’ will be turned back. They will be utterly disappointed. 18 “Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see. 19 Who is blind, but my servant? Or who is as deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is as blind as he who is at peace, and as blind as the LORD’s servant? 20 You see many things, but don’t observe. His ears are open, but he doesn’t listen. 21 It pleased the LORD, for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify the law, and make it honorable. 22 But this is a robbed and plundered people. All of them are snared in holes, and they are hidden in prisons. They have become captives, and no one delivers; and a plunder, and no one says, ‘Restore them!’ 23 Who is there amongst you who will give ear to this? Who will listen and hear for the time to come? 24 Who gave Jacob as plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Didn’t the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? For they would not walk in his ways, and they disobeyed his law. 25 Therefore he poured the fierceness of his anger on him, and the strength of battle; and it set him on fire all around, but he didn’t know; and it burnt him, but he didn’t take it to heart.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-4

This prophecy was fulfilled in Christ, Matt. 12:17. Let our souls rely on him, and rejoice in him; then, for his sake, the Father will be well-pleased with us. The Holy Spirit not only came, but rested upon him, and without measure. He patiently bore the contradiction of sinners. His kingdom is spiritual; he was not to appear with earthly honours. He is tender of those oppressed with doubts and fears, as a bruised reed; those who are as smoking flax, as the wick of a lamp newly lighted, which is ready to go out again. He will not despise them, nor lay upon them more work or more suffering than they can bear. By a long course of miracles and his resurrection, he fully showed the truth of his holy religion. By the power of his gospel and grace he fixes principles in the minds of men, which tend to make them wise and just. The most distant nations wait for his law, wait for his gospel, and shall welcome it. If we would make our calling and election sure, and have the Father delight over us for good, we must behold, hear, believe in, and obey Christ.

Verses 5-12

The work of redemption brings back man to the obedience he owes to God as his Maker. Christ is the light of the world. And by his grace he opens the understandings Satan has blinded, and sets at liberty from the bondage of sin. The Lord has supported his church. And now he makes new promises, which shall as certainly be fulfilled as the old ones were. When the Gentiles are brought into the church, he is glorified in them and by them. Let us give to God those things which are his, taking heed that we do not serve the creature more than the Creator.

Verses 13-17

The Lord will appear in his power and glory. He shall cry, in the preaching of his word. He shall cry aloud in the gospel woes, which must be preached with gospel blessings, to awaken a sleeping world. He shall conquer by the power of his Spirit. And those that contradict and blaspheme his gospel, he shall put to silence and shame; and that which hinders its progress shall be taken out of the way. To those who by nature were blind, God will show the way to life and happiness by Jesus Christ. They are weak in knowledge, but He will make darkness light. They are weak in duty, but their way shall be plain. Those whom God brings into the right way, he will guide in it. This passage is a prophecy, and is also applicable to every believer; for the Lord will never leave nor forsake them.

Verses 18-25

Observe the call given to this people, and the character given of them. Multitudes are ruined for want of observing that which they cannot but see; they perish, not through ignorance, but carelessness. The Lord is well-pleased in the making known his own righteousness. For their sins they were spoiled of all their possessions. This fully came to pass in the destruction of the Jewish nation. There is no resisting, nor escaping God’s anger. See the mischief sin makes; it provokes God to anger. And those not humbled by lesser judgments, must expect greater. Alas! how many professed Christians are blind as the benighted heathen! While the Lord is well-pleased in saving sinners through the righteousness of Christ he will also glorify his justice, by punishing all proud despisers. Seeing God has poured out his wrath on his once-favoured people, because of their sins, let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should be found to come short of it.

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